Kerry fireman started blaze to get call-out payment, court told

Kerry fireman started blaze to get call-out payment, court told

David Ahern, of St James Gardens, Killorglin,  is charged that on April 13, 2020, at Cromane Upper, Killorglin, he committed arson.

A fireman with Kerry County Council lit a fire in a bog and he was one of the firemen called to put it out, a court has heard.

He lit the gorseland so the fire brigade had to be called out and he would get paid, it was alleged at Killorglin District Court where the matter came before the court to decide on jurisdiction.

The burnt land belonged to the council, according to the charge.

The court, sitting in Cahersiveen, heard there were two charges involved in the case against David Ahern, 36, which was before the court for the first time.

Ahern, of St James Gardens, Killorglin,  is charged that on April 13, 2020, at Cromane Upper, Killorglin, he committed arson in that he damaged by fire property, namely gorseland. The gorseland belonged to Kerry County Council and the public at large and the damage was with intent to defraud, according to the alleged offence which is contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act 1991.

Mr Ahern is also charged that on the date and location in question he dishonestly, by deception, induced the fire service department of Kerry County Council to pay him the sum of €151.04 for attending a fire at Cromane Upper, Kilorglin to make a gain for himself contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Act, 2001.

Sgt Miriam Mulhall Nolan told Judge David Waters the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed summary disposal, that is it could be dealt with in the District Court, and jurisdiction was to be decided.

“It is alleged the defendant lit a fire in a bog and Kerry County Council fire brigade had to be called out,” the Sergeant said.

“David Ahern worked for Kerry County Council and was one of the firemen who came out and he received payment,” the sergeant continued.

In response to questions from Judge Waters, Sgt Mulhall Nolan confirmed it was being alleged the accused set the fire for the purposes of being called out.

“The purpose of the fire was to get payment for the call out,” the sergeant said.

1.5 acres of land was damaged by the fire, she told the judge.

Judge Waters accepted jurisdiction and granted disclosure of documents to the defendant’s solicitor, Brendan Ahern.

Mr Ahern said he would be applying for legal aid in due course as his client was on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The judge adjourned the matter to July 8 next.

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